Newsletter – October, 2017

On My Mind
My recent trip to Nepal can best be described as mind-expanding. Although I didn’t make it to the top of Sagarmatha (Mount Everest), I was able to see quite a bit of Kathmandu and the surrounding areas. Kathmandu is rich in history and culture and the influences of Hinduism and Buddhism are quite visible. I especially enjoyed visiting the stupas, temples, and shrines. The city is still recovering from an earthquake in 2015 and so there is quite a bit of construction—and dust—which means the air quality has been adversely affected. The people I met were friendly and kind and the views from some of the Kathmandu area mountaintops were spectacular. There clearly are improvements in the Kathmandu infrastructure that need to be made, but this bustling city is vibrant and there is much knowledge that can be gained by the inquiring mind.

Interesting Stories
You’ll know it when you see it! Kathmandu has thousands of small stores that are “open to the street” selling everything from vegetables to clothing to motorcycle helmets. There was some good news and bad news related to the Kathmandu traffic congestion. The bad news was that I spent a lot of time as a passenger in a van during my recent trip. The good news was that I had a lot of time to just “peer into” these small stores. I started to wonder how you could differentiate yourself if you were a store owner since many of the stores seemed to sell similar items. How might you gain a competitive advantage? I was thinking you could differentiate yourself by location, brands sold, and/or customer service. And then I saw “it”! I noticed a store that was impeccably clean and organized and there was an employee sweeping the front sidewalk. There were two small waste bins neatly arranged outside the store next to a nice potted plant. I think it was a drugstore. The store seemed so welcoming and it “shouted” cleanliness and orderliness—so “far ahead” compared to many of the other stores in Kathmandu. The exemplary “curb-side appearance” clearly differentiated this store from all the other stores I observed. It truly appeared to be a Lean store.

Company News
I presented my research paper on “Big Data in Hoshin Kanri” at the 15th Asian Network for Quality Congress in Kathmandu, Nepal in September. The paper is available on the RESEARCH page of this website. The 9th Annual Advanced Strategic Improvement Practices Conference is scheduled for October 19. The one day Advances in Strategic Planning course is scheduled for November 9. The next public Continuous Improvement Green Belt course is scheduled to start November 16. The next public Strategic Improvement Black Belt course is scheduled to start January 9, 2018. The brochures for these events are available on the PUBLIC SEMINARS page of this website.

Intriguing Reads
I study the book Writers on Strategy and Strategic Management (2nd Edition) by J. I. Moore at least once a year. You learn about the most valuable players in the field of Strategic Management in this book. Studying the book every year re-solidifies my understanding of some of the most important “strategy” concepts and frameworks. The book is organized in six sections: The Shapers and Movers, The Consultants, The Scholars and Researchers, The Developers and Teachers, The Incrementalists, and Strategies for Decline: Endgames and Turnaround. If you want an excellent foundational book on Strategy and Strategic Management, then give this book a try.